A Little Hidden Okanagan Treasure
Naramata BC is probably the quietest community you'll encounter in the Okanagan Valley, but it's also one of the most unique.
There are some wonderful treasures in the village, which crosses the path of the Kettle Valley Trail, and on the benches of Naramata that are well worth a days exploring.
Today, this quiet village of just over 2,000 people offers you charming and unique treats through it's thriving cottage industies, including pottery, clayworks, designer clothing and jewelry, essential oils & aromatherapies, a Lavender farm, woodworking, upscale antiques, metal sculptor, mixed media art, art glass, paintings and other arts.
The village, located about 15 Km from downtown Penticton, is a small quiet waterfront community with a history of cultural arts dating back to the early 1900's.
It's a great place to visit and one of the best areas in the Okanagan Valley for romantic weekend getaways and a weekend wine tour.
In the early days, this community was a cultural arts center for concerts, plays, operas and regattas.
People would come to the village from across the Okanagan Valley by boat for all of these events. History tells a story of the village founder's affinity for the occult, and that he came by the town name at a seance he attended that was held by the local postmasters wife.
The seance celebrated the spirit of a Sioux chief, Naramata. And the town that was named after her means 'Smile of the Manitou'.
For years, this agricultural community thrived on fruit growing, mainly apples, with peaches, pears, cherries and apricots as well.
As the Okanagan Valley grew as a wine producing region, so have the wineries along the benchlands between the village and the city of Penticton.
The Kettle Valley Trail
When the Kettle Valley Railway was completed in 1914, Naramata village became a transportation link between southeastern British Columbia, an area rich in mineral resources, and the coastal BC, the population and economic hub of the province.
Nearly 60 years later, as highways and infrastructure became more developed in the Okanagan Valley, the historic KVR carried its last train through Naramata.
The KVR route is now part of the 18,000 kilometre Trans Canada Trail system and the remnants of the KVR, including the train tunnels, rock ovens, and the railway right-of-way which clings to the hillside above Okanagan Lake above Naramata make for great days of exploring the area.
The KVR trail follows along above Naramata Road past the village to the Little Tunnel, where you can walk through and be amazed by the views of the Okanagan Valley as you come out the other side.
Community Summer Market & Wharf Park
In the summertime a great day to visit the village is on a Wednesday afternoon, when you can take in the community market.
Beginning in June and through September, from 4 pm to 7 pm, we enjoy fresh, delicious prepared foods and unique crafts by local artists and artisans.
There's always something new that we haven't tried before, and it's usually in the form of a fresh artisan bread or pastry.
Manitou Park & Beach
After the market, we spend the rest of our day at the local Manitou Park & beach in the village for a quiet peaceful escape from the busier beaches in nearby Penticton.
The park includes huge grass areas, a playground, ball fields, picnic tables, change rooms, washrooms, horseshoe pitch, volleyball court and is a family beach.
There is also a pet friendly beach next to Manitou Park.
If you don't feel like the beach, you could spend some time at Wharf Park, which is the original site of the 'Old Dock', where sternwheelers and barges once traveled in and out of carrying passengers, fruit and cargo.
Although the original dock has been replaced, you'll find some of the most beautiful views from there, and you can walk through the park and enjoy the scenery.
Festivals & Fairs
One of the many Okanagan festivals that happen each year, Manitou Park on Victoria Day (Canada May long weekend holiday) becomes the site of the annual May Day Celebrations, where students from the local school perform the 'Maypole Dance', a traditional folk dance originating in western Europe.
May Day is a celebration of the community and spring and Naramata is one of few communities in the British Commonwealth to still host the traditional Maypole Dance. Today the dance is considered a children's dance, and is performed at schools, playgrounds and fairs for children. And if you're here during the May Day celebration, the May Pole Dance is a treat to watch!
On the August long weekend holiday, visit the August Fair, where Manitou Park is filled with live music, food, games, and artisans. This is a family event, that is jam packed every year.
Visit the Labyrinth at Naramata Centre which is a unique meditation circle built of grass and landscaping stone pathways, and is visited by many as a quiet place for worship or meditation.
A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It combines the imagery of the circle and the spiral into a meandering but purposeful path. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. It's not the same as a maze.
This Labyrinth represents a spiritual journey to our own center and back again out into the world. It symbolizes our walk through life, where there is only one way in and one way out, but there is no right or wrong way through the circle.
Historic Heritage Inn
Probably one of the most notable historic buildings around is Hotel Naramata, which was originally built in 1908, by businessman and town founder, John Moore Robinson, was a modern luxury hotel in it's time, and sits along Okanagan Lake shoreline.
The hotel once featured respite 'cottages for rest cures', tennis, bowling greens, lacrosse and baseball fields for an exclusive clientele. By 2001 the hotel had been completely restored to preserve as much of the original architecture and furnishings as possible. And now it has become the luxury Heritage Inn & Spa, with accommodations, fine dining and a popular Wine Bar.
Stop in for an afternoon luxury spa treatment and then enjoy a fine dinner in the hotels' dining room.
The Heritage Museum
If you're a history buff, the museum displays many historical photos and artifacts of early Naramata and surrounding areas. It's an interesting museum where you can spend about an hour or so, with insight into the early 1900's and the orchard industry in the Okanagan Valley.
You can see how apple juice was prepared with the old apple press, along with other vintage farm equipment.
Great Places To Stay For Romantic Weekend Getaways
Naramata is known for it's B&B's as well as it's wineries.
There are many romantic Bed & Breakfast's and numerous vacation rentals set amongst the vineyards and peaceful orchards in the area.
If you're thinking of a B&B stay and/or wine tour here, you truly won't be disappointed.
You can plan the most romantic weekend at some of the most unique stays, along with a wine tour that you won't forget.
Bed and Breakfast's are the bread & butter for many. Owners pride their accommodations and welcome visitors with the best services to make your stay memorable.
After all, they want you to come back and they depend on you for future recommendations.
They also know the area well, and are great resources for helping you find special events, wine tasting tours, and other treasures of the area.
If you can plan your visit in the off season, November to April, you are likely to get a bit better rates on Bed & Breakfast accommodations.
Naramata Bench Wineries
The Naramata Bench is prime agricultural land for orchards and vineyards, and a drive along Naramata Road presents you with a multitude of boutique wineries to explore.
The drive is itself well worth an afternoon excursion, where you'll feel as though you're in another world altogether.Winding country roads lined with orchards and vineyard grapes, and stunning views of the Okanagan valley are more than relaxing.
As you pass by all the Benchland wineries that line the hillsides and roads you'll be more than tempted to stop in and visit at least one or two!
Here are some great wineries, some that we have visited, to get you started:
D'Angelo Estate Winery is located on the Naramata Bench at 979 Lochore Rd near the KVR trail. This winery produced its first vintage at it's BC Winery in 2005. D'Angelo is the first individual grower-vitner to produce wines in both Ontario and British Columbia. The wine boutique is open daily from May to October, and by appointment from November to April.
Elephant Island Winery approximately 17 km from the city of Penticton on the Naramata road, has a wonderful selection of fruit wines including dinner and dessert wines, and Canadian ice wines. Visit their tasting room at 2730 Aikins Loop. They promise to make you a lifelong believer in fruit wine! And - (smile) - no tasting fees!
Township 7 Vineyards and Winery 1450 McMillan Avenue, Penticton,
is one of the first wineries you'll see as you head out onto Naramata Road.
Township 7 produces a variety of white wines, reds,
sparkling wine and rose wine. Stop in at their boutique, which is open 7 days a week,
11 am - 6 pm, and
Nichol Vineyard & Estate Winery has been creating specialty
wines from their estate-grown Okanagan grapes since 1993.
You'll find them at 1285 Smethurst Road; turn right at Smethurst Road
just past the intersection of Naramata Road and Robinson Avenue in Naramata and follow the signs.
Their wine boutique is open for tasting daily beginning each May.
Sip and enjoy some most amazing views of the Okanagan Valley.
Black Widow Winery is a gravity flow Okanagan winery that specializes
in small lot wine releases which are produced from their own grapes. They are located at 1630
Naramata Road, and offer scheduled tastings.
Be sure to call first. Telephone: 250-487-2347
Kettle Valley Winery in the village of Naramata is a
small family owned and operated farm based winery, and drew it's name from the Kettle
Valley Railway. Drop by their wine shop to sample,
but if you're in a group of 8 or more, please call ahead to schedule as the shop is small.
Kettle Valley Winery has a great selection of red and white wines to choose from. The wine
shop is open daily, beginning in May,
and you can also schedule an appointment. Telephone: 250-496-5898.
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Nichol Vineyard & Estate Winery has been creating specialty wines from their estate-grown Okanagan grapes since 1993. You'll find them at 1285 Smethurst Road; turn right at Smethurst Road just past the intersection of Naramata Road and Robinson Avenue in Naramata and follow the signs. Their wine boutique is open for tasting daily beginning each May. Sip and enjoy some most amazing views of the Okanagan Valley.
Black Widow Winery is a gravity flow Okanagan winery that specializes in small lot wine releases which are produced from their own grapes. They are located at 1630 Naramata Road, and offer scheduled tastings. Be sure to call first. Telephone: 250-487-2347
Kettle Valley Winery in the village of Naramata is a small family owned and operated farm based winery, and drew it's name from the Kettle Valley Railway. Drop by their wine shop to sample, but if you're in a group of 8 or more, please call ahead to schedule as the shop is small. Kettle Valley Winery has a great selection of red and white wines to choose from. The wine shop is open daily, beginning in May, and you can also schedule an appointment. Telephone: 250-496-5898.
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By: Erika Friedrich Copyright© 2008-2013 OkanaganVacationGuide.com All Rights Reserved